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Full text of "A woman's wartime journal; an account of the passage over a Georgia plantation of Sherman's army on the march to the sea, as recorded in the diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt (Mrs. Thomas Burge);"

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This Book may be kept out TWO WEEKS 
ONLY, and is subject to a fine of FIVE 
CENTS a day thereafter. It was taken out on 
the day indicated below: 

8 Jan'40HD 




EB 28 mf 


15Jan v 44!VI 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 












(Mrs. Thomas Burge) 

With an Introduction and Notes by 






Copyright, 1918, by 
The Centuby Co. 


Though Southern rural life has nec- 
essarily changed since the Civil War, I 
doubt that there is in the entire South a 
place where it has changed less than on 
the Burge Plantation, near Covington, 
Georgia. And I do not know in the 
whole country a place that I should 
rather see again in springtime — the 
Georgia springtime, when the air is like 
a tonic vapor distilled from the earth, 
from pine trees, tulip trees, balm-of- 
Gilead trees (or "bam" trees, as the 
negroes call them), blossoming Judas 
trees, Georgia crab-apple, dogwood 
pink and white, peach blossom, wistaria, 




sweet-shrub, dog violets, pansy violets, 
Cherokee roses, wild honeysuckle, 
azalia, and the evanescent green of new 
treetops, all carried in solution in the 

It is indicative of the fidelity of the 
plantation to its old traditions that 
though more than threescore springs 
have come and gone since Sherman and 
his army crossed the red cottonfields 
surrounding the plantation house, and 
though the Burge family name died out, 
many years ago, with Mrs. Thomas 
Burge, a portion of whose wartime 
journal makes up the body of this book, 
the place continues to be known by her 
name and her husband's, as it was when 
they resided there before the Civil War. 
Some of the negroes mentioned in the 
journal still live in cabins on the planta- 
tion, and almost all the younger gen- 


eration are the children or grandchildren 
of Mrs. Burge's former slaves. 

Mrs. Burge (Dolly Sumner Lunt) 
was born September 29, 1817, in Bow- 
doinham, Maine. That she was brought 
up in New England, in the heart of the 
abolitionist movement, and that she was 
a relative of Charles Sumner, consistent 
foe of the South, lends peculiar interest 
to the sentiments on slavery expressed 
in her journal. As a young woman 
she moved from Maine to Georgia, 
where her married sister was already 
settled. While teaching school in Cov- 
ington she met Thomas Burge, a plan- 
tation-owner and gentleman of the Old 
South, and presently married him. 
When some years later Mr. Burge died, 
Mrs. Burge was left on the plantation 
with her little daughter Sarah (the 
"Sadai" of the journal) and her slaves, 


numbering about one hundred. Less 
than three years after she was widowed 
the Civil War broke out, and in 1864 
this cultivated and charming woman 
saw Sherman's army pass across her 
fields on the March to the Sea. 

At the time of my visit to the planta- 
tion the world was aghast over the Ger- 
man invasion of Belgium, the horrors 
of which had but recently been fully re- 
vealed and confirmed. . . . What, then, 
I began to wonder, must life have been 
in this part of Georgia, when Sherman's 
men came by? What must it have been 
to the woman and the little girl living on 
these acres, in this very house? For 
though Germany's assault was upon an 
unoffending neutral state and was the 
commencement of a base war, whereas 
Sherman's March through Georgia was 
an invasion of what was then the en- 


emy's country for the purpose of 
"breaking the back" of that enemy and 
thus terminating the war, nevertheless 
"military necessity" was the excuse in 
either case for a campaign of deliberate 
destruction — which, in the State of 
Georgia, was measured by Sherman 
himself at one hundred millions. 

When, therefore, I learned that Mrs. 
Burge had kept a journal in which were 
related her experiences throughout this 
period, I became eager to see it; and I 
am sure the reader will agree that I did 
him a good turn when, after perusing 
the journal, I begged its author's grand- 
daughters — Mrs. M. J. Morehouse of 
Evanston, Ills., and Mrs. Louis Bol- 
ton of Detroit, Mich., my hostesses at 
the plantation — that they permit it to 
be published. 

Their consent having graciously been 


given, I can only wish that the reader 
might sit, as I did, perusing the story 
in the very house, in the very room, in 
which it was written. I wish he might 
turn the yellow pages with me, and read 
for himself of events which seem, some- 
how, more vivid for the fact that the ink 
is faded brown with time. And I wish 
that when the journal tells of "bluecoats 
coming down the road" the reader might 
glance up and out through the open 
window, as I did, and see the very road 
down which they came. 

Imagine yourself in a low white house 
standing in a grove of gigantic oaks 
surrounded by the cottonfields. Im- 
agine yourself in a large comfortable 
room in this house, in an old rocking 
chair by the window. From the win- 
dow you may see the white well-house, 
its roof mottled with the shadows of 


branches above ; beyond, the garden and 
the road, and far away in the red fields 
negroes and mules at work. Then look 
down at the large book resting in your 
lap and read. 

Julian Street. 
New York, 
march, 1918. 




January 1, 1864. 
A new year is ushered in, but peace 
comes not with it. Scarcely a family 
but has given some of its members to 
the bloody war that is still decimating 
our nation. Oh, that its ravages may 
soon be stopped! Will another year 
find us among carnage and bloodshed? 
Shall we be a nation or shall we be an- 
nihilated? . . . The prices of every- 
thing are very high. Corn seven dol- 
lars a bushel, calico ten dollars a yard, 
salt sixty dollars a hundred, cotton from 
sixty to eighty cents a pound, every- 
thing in like ratio. 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 
July 22, 1864. 

[The day of the battle of Atlanta] 

We have heard the loud booming of 
cannon all day. Mr. Ward [the over- 
seer] went over to the burial of Thomas 
Harwell, whose death I witnessed yes- 
terday. They had but just gone when 
the Rev. A. Turner, wife, and daughter 
drove up with their wagons, desiring to 
rest awhile. They went into the ell [a 
large back room] and lay down, I fol- 
lowing them, wishing to enjoy their 
company. Suddenly I saw the servants 
running to the palings, and I walked 
to the door, when I saw such a stampede 
as I never witnessed before. The road 
was full of carriages, wagons, men on 
horseback, all riding at full speed. 
Judge Floyd stopped, saying: "Mrs. 
Burge, the Yankees are coming. They 
have got my family, and here is all I 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

have upon earth. Hide your mules and 
carriages and whatever valuables you 

Sadai [Mrs. Burge's nine-year-old 
daughter] said: 

"Oh, Mama, what shall we do?" 

"Never mind, Sadai," I said. "They 
won't hurt you, and you must help me 
hide my things." 

1 went to the smoke-house, divided 
out the meat to the servants, and bid 
them hide it. Julia [a slave] took a jar 
of lard and buried it. In the meantime 
Sadai was taking down and picking up 
our clothes, which she was giving to the 
servants to hide in their cabins; silk 
dresses, challis, muslins, and merinos, 
linens, and hosiery, all found their way 
into the chests of the women and under 
their beds ; china and silver were buried 
underground, and Sadai bid Mary [a 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

slave] hide a bit of soap under some 
bricks, that mama might have a little 
left. Then she came to me with a part 
of a loaf of bread, asking if she had not 
better put it in her pocket, that we 
might have something to eat that night. 
And, verily, we had cause to fear that 
we might be homeless, for on every side 
we could see smoke arising from burn- 
ing buildings and bridges. 

Major Ansley, who was wounded in 
the hip in the battle of Missionary 
Ridge, and has not recovered, came with 
his wife, sister, two little ones, and serv- 
ants. He was traveling in a bed in a 
small wagon. They had thought to get 
to Eatonton, but he was so wearied that 
they stopped with me for the night. I 
am glad to have them. I shall sleep 
none to-night. The woods are full of 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 

July 23, 1864. 

I have been left in my home all day 
with no one but Sadai. Have seen 
nothing of the raiders, though this morn- 
ing they burned the buildings around 
the depot at the Circle [Social Circle, a 
near-by town]. I have sat here in the 
porch nearly all day, and hailed every 
one that passed for news. Just as the 
sun set here Major Ansley and family 
came back. They heard of the enemy 
all about and concluded they were as 
safe here as anywhere. Just before 
bedtime John, our boy, came from Cov- 
ington with word that the Yankees had 
left. Wheeler's men were in Coving- 
ton and going in pursuit. We slept 
sweetly and felt safe. 

* * * 
Sunday, July 24, 1864. 

No church. Our preacher's horse 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

stolen by the Yankees. This raid is 
headed by Guerrard and is for the pur- 
pose of destroying our railroads. They 
cruelly shot a George Daniel and a Mr. 
Jones of Covington, destroyed a great 
deal of private property, and took many 
citizens prisoners. 

* * * 

July 27, 1864. 
Major Ansley and family have re- 
mained. We are feeling more settled 
and have begun to bring to light some 
of the things which we had put away. 

* * * 

July 28, 1864. 
I rose early and had the boys plow 
the turnip-patch. We were just rising 
from breakfast when Ben Glass rode up 
with the cry: "The Yankees are com- 
ing. Mrs. Burge, hide your mules !" 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

How we were startled and how we hur- 
ried the Ma j or to his room ! [The Yan- 
kees did not come that day, but it was 
thought best to send Major Ansley 
away. He left at 2 a. m.] 

* * * 

July 29, 1864. 
Sleepless nights. The report is that 
the Yankees have left Covington for 
Macon, headed by Stoneman, to release 
prisoners held there. (They robbed 
every house on the road of its pro- 
visions, sometimes taking every piece of 
meat, blankets and wearing apparel, 
silver and arms of every description. 
They would take silk dresses and put 
them under their saddles, and many 
other things for which they had no use. ) 
Is this the way to make us love them 
and their Union? Let the poor people 

A Woman s Wartime Journal 

answer whom they have deprived of 
every mouthful of meat and of their 
livestock to make any ! Our mills, too, 
they have burned, destroying an im- 
mense amount of property. 

* * * 

August 2, 1864. 

Just as I got out of bed this morning 
Aunt Julia [a slave] called me to look 
down the road and see the soldiers. I 
peeped through the blinds, and there 
they were, sure enough, the Yankees — 
the blue coats! 

I was not dressed. The servant 
women came running in. "Mistress, 
they are coming! They are coming! 
They are riding into the lot ! There are 
two coming up the steps !" 

I bade Rachel [a slave] fasten my 
room door and go to the front door and 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

ask them what they wanted. They did 
not wait for that, but came in and asked 
why my door was fastened. She told 
them that the white folks were not up. 
They said they wanted breakfast, and 
that quick, too. 

"Thug" [short for "Sugar," the nick- 
name of a little girl, Minnie Minerva 
Glass, now Mrs. Joe Carey Murphy of 
Charlotte, North Carolina, who had 
come to pass the night with Sadai] and 
Sadai, as well as myself, were greatly 
alarmed. As soon as I could get on 
my clothing I hastened to the kitchen 
to hurry up breakfast. Six of them 
were there talking with my women. 
They asked about our soldiers and, pass- 
ing themselves off as Wheeler's men, 

"Have you seen any of our men go 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 

"Several of Wheeler's men passed 
last evening. Who are you?" said I. 

"We are a portion of Wheeler's 
men," said one. 

"You look like Yankees," said I. 

"Yes," said one, stepping up to me; 
"we are Yankees. Did you ever see 
one before?" 

"Not for a long time," I replied, "and 
none such as you." [These men, Mrs. 
Burge says further, were raiders, Illi- 
nois and Kentucky men of German or- 
igin. They left after breakfast, taking 
three of her best mules, but doing no 
further injury.] 

To-night Captain Smith of an Ala- 
bama regiment, and a squad of twenty 
men, are camped opposite in the field. 
They have all supped with me, and I 
shall breakfast with them. We have 
spent a pleasant evening with music and 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

talk. They have a prisoner along. I 
can't help feeling sorry for him. 

* * * 

August 5, 1864. 
Mr. Ward has been robbed by the 
Yankees of his watch, pencil, and shirt. 

* * * 

November 8, 1864. 
To-day will probably decide the fate 
of the Confederacy. If Lincoln is re- 
elected I think our fate is a hard one, 
but we are in the hands of a merciful 
God, and if He sees that we are in the 
wrong, I trust that He will show it unto 
us. I have never felt that slavery was 
altogether right, for it is abused by men, 
and I have often heard Mr. Burge say 
that if he could see that it was sinful for 
him to own slaves, if he felt that it was 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

wrong, he would take them where he 
could free them. He would not sin for 
his right hand. The purest and holiest 
men have owned them, and I can see 
nothing in the scriptures which forbids 
it. I have never bought or sold slaves 
and I have tried to make life easy and 
pleasant to those that have been be- 
queathed me by the dead. I have never 
ceased to work. Many a Northern 
housekeeper has a much easier time than 
a Southern matron with her hundred 

* * * 

November 12, 1864. 
Warped and put in dresses for the 
loom. Oh, this blockade gives us work 
to do for all hands ! 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 

November 15, 1864. 
Went up to Covington to-day to pay 
the Confederate tax. Did not find the 
commissioners. Mid [a slave] drove 
me with Beck and the buggy. Got 
home about three o'clock. How very 
different is Covington from what it used 
to be ! And how little did they who tore 
down the old flag and raised the new 
realize the results that have ensued ! 

* * * 

November 16, 1864. 
As I could not obtain in Covington 
what I went for in the way of dye stuffs, 
etc., I concluded this morning, in ac- 
cordance with Mrs. Ward's wish, to go 
to the Circle. We took Old Dutch and 
had a pleasant ride as it was a delight- 
ful day, but how dreary looks the town ! 
Where formerly all was bustle and 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

business, now naked chimneys and bare 
walls, for the depot and surroundings 
were all burned by last summer's 
raiders. Engaged to sell some bacon 
and potatoes. Obtained my dye 
stuffs. Paid seven dollars [Confeder- 
ate money] a pound for coffee, six dol- 
lars an ounce for indigo, twenty dollars 
for a quire of paper, five dollars for ten 
cents' worth of flax thread, six dollars 
for pins, and forty dollars for a bunch 
of factory thread. 

On our way home we met Brother 
Evans accompanied by John Hinton, 
who inquired if we had heard that the 
Yankees were coming. He said that a 
large force was at Stockbridge, that the 
Home Guard was called out, and that it 
was reported that the Yankees were on 
their way to Savannah. We rode home 
chatting about it and finally settled it in 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

our minds that it could not be so. 
Probably a foraging party. 

Just before night I walked up to Joe 
Perry's to know if they had heard any- 
thing of the report. He was just start- 
ing off to join the company [the Home 
Guard], being one of them. 

* * * 

November 17, 1864. 
Have been uneasy all day. At night 
some of the neighbors who had been to 
town called. They said it was a large 
force moving very slowly. What shall 
I do? Where go? 

* * * 

November 18, 1864. 
Slept very little last night. Went 
out doors several times and could see 
large fires like burning buildings. Am 

A. Woman's Wartime Journal 

I not in the hands of a merciful God 
who has promised to take care of the 
widow and orphan ? 

Sent off two of my mules in the night. 
Mr. Ward and Frank [a slave] took 
them away and hid them. In the morn- 
ing took a barrel of salt, which had cost 
me two hundred dollars, into one of the 
black women's gardens, put a paper 
over it, and then on the top of that 
leached ashes. Fixed it on a board as a 
leach tub, daubing it with ashes [the 
old-fashioned way of making lye for 
soap]. Had some few pieces of meat 
taken from my smoke-house carried to 
the Old Place [a distant part of the 
plantation] and hidden under some fod- 
der. Bid them hide the wagon and 
gear and then go on plowing. Went 
to packing up mine and Sadai's clothes. 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

I fear that we shall be homeless. 

The boys came back and wished to 
hide their mules. They say that the 
Yankees camped at Mr. Gibson's last 
night and are taking all the stock in the 
county. Seeing them so eager, I told 
them to do as they pleased. They took 
them off, and Elbert [the black coach- 
man] took his forty fattening hogs to 
the Old Place Swamp and turned them 

We have done nothing all day — that 
is, my people have not. I made a pair 
of pants for Jack [a slave] . Sent Nute 
[a slave] up to Mrs. Perry's on an er- 
rand. On his way back, he said, two 
Yankees met him and begged him to go 
with them. They asked if we had live- 
stock, and came up the road as far as 
Mrs. Laura Perry's. I sat for an hour 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

expecting them, but they must have 
gone back. Oh, how I trust I am safe ! 
Mr. Ward is very much alarmed. 

* * * 

November 19, 1864. 
Slept in my clothes last night, as I 
heard that the Yankees went to neigh- 
bor Montgomery's on Thursday night 
at one o'clock, searched his house, drank 
his wine, and took his money and val- 
uables. As we were not disturbed, I 
walked after breakfast, with Sadai, up 
to Mr. Joe Perry's, my nearest neigh- 
bor, where the Yankees were yesterday. 
Saw Mrs. Laura [Perry] in the road 
surrounded by her children, seeming to 
be looking for some one. She said she 
was looking for her husband, that old 
Mrs. Perry had just sent her word that 
the Yankees went to James Perry's the 

A Woman 3 s Wartime Journal 

night before, plundered his house, and 
drove off all his stock, and that she must 
drive hers into the old fields. Before 
we we were done talking, up came Joe 
and Jim Perry from their hiding-place. 
Jim was very much excited. Happen- 
ing to turn and look behind, as we stood 
there, I saw some blue-coats coming 
down the hill. Jim immediately raised 
his gun, swearing he would kill them 

"No, don't!" said I, and ran home as 
fast as I could, with Sadai. 

I could hear them cry, "Halt! Halt!" 
and their guns went off in quick suc- 
cession. Oh God, the time of trial has 

A man passed on his way to Coving- 
ton. I halloed to him, asking him if he 
did not know the Yankees were coming. 

"No— are they?" 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

"Yes," said I; "they are not three 
hundred yards from here." 

"Sure enough," said he. "Well, I'll 
not go. I don't want them to get my 
horse." And although within hearing 
of their guns, he would stop and look for 
them. Blissful ignorance ! Not know- 
ing, not hearing, he has not suffered the 
suspense, the fear, that I have for the 
past forty-eight hours. I walked to the 
gate. There they came filing up. 

I hastened back to my frightened 
servants and told them that they had 
better hide, and then went back to the 
gate to claim protection and a guard. 
But like demons they rush in! My 
yards are full. To my smoke-house, 
my dairy, pantry, kitchen, and cellar, 
like famished wolves they come, break- 
ing locks and whatever is in their way. 
The thousand pounds of meat in my 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

smoke-house is gone in a twinkling, my 
flour, my meat, my lard, butter, eggs, 
pickles of various kinds — both in vine- 
gar and brine — wine, jars, and jugs are 
all gone. My eighteen fat turkeys, my 
hens, chickens, and fowls, my young 
pigs, are shot down in my yard and 
hunted as if they were rebels themselves. 
Utterly powerless I ran out and ap- 
pealed to the guard. 

"I cannot help you, Madam ; it is or- 

As I stood there, from my lot I saw 
driven, first, old Dutch, my dear old 
buggy horse, who has carried my be- 
loved husband so many miles, and who 
would so quietly wait at the block for 
him to mount and dismount, and who 
at last drew him to his grave ; then came 
old Mary, my brood mare, who for years 
had been too old and stiff for work, 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

with her three-year-old colt, my two- 
year-old mule, and her last little baby 
colt. There they go! There go my 
mules, my sheep, and, worse than all, 
my boys [slaves] ! 

Alas! little did I think while trying 
to save my house from plunder and fire 
that they were forcing my boys from 
home at the point of the bayonet. One, 
Newton, jumped into bed in his cabin, 
and declared himself sick. Another 
crawled under the floor, — a lame boy he 
was, — but they pulled him out, placed 
him on a horse, and drove him off. 
Mid, poor Mid ! The last I saw of him, 
a man had him going around the gar- 
den, looking, as I thought, for my sheep, 
as he was my shepherd. Jack came 
crying to me, the big tears coursing 
down his cheeks, saying they were mak- 
ing him go. I said : 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

"Stay in my room." 

But a man followed in, cursing him 
and threatening to shoot him if he did 
not go; so poor Jack had to yield. 
James Arnold, in trying to escape from 
a back window, was captured and 
marched off. Henry, too, was taken; 
I know not how or when, but probably 
when he and Bob went after the mules. 
I had not believed they would force 
from their homes the poor, doomed ne- 
groes, but such has been the fact here, 
cursing them and saying that "Jeff 
Davis wanted to put them in his army, 
but that they should not fight for him, 
but for the Union." No! Indeed no! 
They are not friends to the slave. We 
have never made the poor, cowardly 
negro fight, and it is strange, passing 
strange, that the all-powerful Yankee 
nation with the whole world to back 

A Woman s Wartime Journal 

them, their ports open, their armies 
filled with soldiers from all nations, 
should at last take the poor negro to 
help them out against this little Confed- 
eracy which was to have been brought 
back into the Union in sixty days' 

My poor boys! My poor boys! 
What unknown trials are before you! 
How you have clung to your mistress 
and assisted her in every way you 

Never have I corrected them; a 
word was sufficient. Never have they 
known want of any kind. Their par- 
ents are with me, and how sadly they 
lament the loss of their boys. Their 
cabins are rifled of every valuable, the 
soldiers swearing that their Sunday 
clothes were the white people's, and that 
they never had money to get such things 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

as they had. Poor Frank's chest was 
broken open, his money and tobacco 
taken. He has always been a money- 
making and saving boy; not infre- 
quently has his crop brought him five 
hundred dollars and more. All of his 
clothes and Rachel's clothes, which dear 
Lou gave her before her death and 
which she had packed away, were stolen 
from her. Ovens, skillets, coffee-mills, 
of which we had three, coffee-pots — not 
one have I left. Sifters all gone! 

Seeing that the soldiers could not be 
restrained, the guard ordered me to 
have their [of the negroes] remaining 
possessions brought into my house, 
which I did, and they all, poor things, 
huddled together in my room, fearing 
every movement that the house would 
be burned. 

A Captain Webber from Illinois 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

came into my house. Of him I claimed 
protection from the vandals who were 
forcing themselves into my room. He 
said that he knew my brother Orring- 
ton [the late Orrington Lunt, a well- 
known early settler of Chicago]. At 
that name I could not restrain my feel- 
ings, but, bursting into tears, implored 
him to see my brother and let him know 
my destitution. I saw nothing before 
me but starvation. He promised to do 
this, and comforted me with the assur- 
ance that my dwelling-house would not 
be burned, though my out-buildings 
might. Poor little Sadai went crying 
to him as to a friend and told him that 
they had taken her doll, Nancy. He 
begged her to come and see him, and 
he would give her a fine waxen one. 
[The doll was found later in the yard 
of a neighbor, where a soldier had 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

thrown it, and was returned to the little 
girl. Her children later played with 
it, and it is now the plaything of her 

He felt for me, and I give him and 
several others the character of gentle- 
men. I don't believe they would have 
molested women and children had they 
had their own way. He seemed sur- 
prised that I had not laid away in my 
house, flour and other provisions. I did 
not suppose I could secure them there, 
more than where I usually kept them, 
for in last summer's raid houses were 
thoroughly searched. In parting with 
him, I parted as with a friend. 

Sherman himself and a greater por- 
tion of his army passed my house that 
day. All day, as the sad moments 
rolled on, were they passing not only in 
front of my house, but from behind; 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

they tore down my garden palings, made 
a road through my back-yard and lot 
field, driving then stock and riding 
through, tearing down my fences and 
desolating my home — wantonly doing 
it when there was no necessity for it. 

Such a day, if I live to the age of 
Methuselah, may God spare me from 
ever seeing again ! 

As night drew its sable curtains 
around us, the heavens from every point 
were lit up with flames from burning 
buildings. Dinnerless and supperless 
as we were, it was nothing in compari- 
son with the fear of being driven out 
homeless to the dreary woods. Nothing 
to eat ! I could give my guard no sup- 
per, so he left us. I appealed to an- 
other, asking him if he had wife, mother, 
or sister, and how he should feel were 
they in my situation. A colonel from 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

Vermont left me two men, but they were 
Dutch, and I could not understand one 
word they said. 

My Heavenly Father alone saved me 
from the destructive fire. My carriage- 
house had in it eight bales of cotton, with 
my carriage, buggy, and harness. On 
top of the cotton were some carded cot- 
ton rolls, a hundred pounds or more. 
These were thrown out of the blanket in 
which they were, and a large twist of 
the rolls taken and set on fire, and 
thrown into the boat of my carriage, 
which was close up to the cotton bales. 
Thanks to my God, the cotton only 
burned over, and then went out. Shall 
I ever forget the deliverance? 

To-night, when the greater part of 

the army had passed, it came up very 

windy and cold. My room was full, 

nearly, with the negroes and their bed- 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 

ding. They were afraid to go out, for 
my women could not step out of the 
door without an insult from the Yankee 
soldiers. They lay down on the floor; 
Sadai got down and under the same 
cover with Sally, while I sat up all night, 
watching every moment for the flames 
to burst out from some of my buildings. 
The two guards came into my room and 
laid themselves by my fire for the night. 
I could not close my eyes, but kept walk- 
ing to and fro, watching the fires in the 
distance and dreading the approaching 
day, which, I feared, as they had not all 
passed, would be but a continuation of 

* * * 

November 20, 1864. 
This is the blessed Sabbath, the day 
upon which He who came to bring peace 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

and good will upon earth rose from His 
tomb and ascended to intercede for us 
poor fallen creatures. But how unlike 
this day to any that have preceded it in 
my once quiet home. I had watched all 
night, and the dawn found me watching 
for the moving of the soldiery that was 
encamped about us. Oh, how I dreaded 
those that were to pass, as I supposed 
they would straggle and complete the 
ruin that the others had commenced, for 
I had been repeatedly told that they 
would burn everything as they passed. 

Some of my women had gathered up 
a chicken that the soldiers shot yester- 
day, and they cooked it with some yams 
for our breakfast, the guard complain- 
ing that we gave them no supper. 
They gave us some coffee, which I had 
to make in a tea-kettle, as every coffee- 
pot is taken off. The rear-guard was 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

commanded by Colonel Carlow, who 
changed our guard, leaving us one sol- 
dier while they were passing. They 
marched directly on, scarcely breaking 
ranks. Once a bucket of water was 
called for, but they drank without com- 
ing in. 

About ten o'clock they had all passed 
save one, who came in and wanted coffee 
made, which was done, and he, too, went 
on. A few minutes elapsed, and two 
couriers riding rapidly passed back. 
Then, presently, more soldiers came by, 
and this ended the passing of Sherman's 
army by my place, leaving me poorer 
by thirty thousand dollars than I was 
yesterday morning. And a much 
stronger Rebel ! 

After the excitement was a little over, 
I went up to Mrs. Laura's to sympathize 
with her, for I had no doubt but that her 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

husband was hanged. She thought so, 
and we could see no way for his escape. 
We all took a good cry together. 
While there, I saw smoke looming up in 
the direction of my home, and thought 
surely the fiends had done their work ere 
they left. I ran as fast as I could, but 
soon saw that the fire was below my 
home. It proved to be the gin house 
[cotton gin] belonging to Colonel Pitts. 

My boys have not come home. I 
fear they cannot get away from the sol- 
diers. Two of my cows came up this 
morning, but were driven off again by 
the Yankees. 

I feel so thankful that I have not been 
burned out that I have tried to spend the 
remainder of the daj^ as the Sabbath 
ought to be spent. Ate dinner out of 
the oven in Julia's [the cook's] house, 
some stew, no bread. She is boiling 

A Woman s Wartime Journal 

some corn. My poor servants feel so 
badly at losing what they have worked 
for; meat, the hog meat that they love 
better than anything else, is all gone. 

* * * 

November 21, 1864. 
We had the table laid this morning, 
but no bread or butter or milk. What 
a prospect for delicacies! My house is 
a perfect fright. I had brought in Sat- 
urday night some thirty bushels of pota- 
toes and ten or fifteen bushels of wheat 
poured down on the carpet in the ell. 
Then the few gallons of syrup saved was 
daubed all about. The backbone of a 
hog that I had killed on Friday, and 
which the Yankees did not take when 
they cleaned out my smokehouse, I 
found and hid under my bed, and this 
is all the meat I have. 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

Major Lee came down this evening, 
having heard that I was burned out, to 
proffer me a home. Mr. Dorsett was 
with him. The army lost some of their 
beeves in passing. I sent to-day and 
had some driven into my lot, and then 
sent to Judge Glass to come over and 
get some. Had two killed. Some of 
Wheeler's men came in, and I asked 
them to shoot the cattle, which they did. 

About ten o'clock this morning Mr. 
Joe Perry [Mrs. Laura's husband] 
called. I was so glad to see him that I 
could scarcely forbear embracing him. 
I could not keep from crying, for I was 
sure the Yankees had executed him, and 
I felt so much for his poor wife. The 
soldiers told me repeatedly Saturday 
that they had hung him and his brother 
James and George Guise. They had a 
narrow escape, however, and only got 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

away by knowing the country so much 
better than the soldiers did. They lay 
out until this morning. How rejoiced I 
am for his family! All of his negroes 
are gone, save one man that had a wife 
here at my plantation. They are very 
strong Secesh [Secessionists]. When 
the army first came along they offered 
a guard for the house, but Mrs. Laura 
told them she was guarded by a Higher 
Power, and did not thank them to do it. 
She says that she could think of nothing 
else all day when the army was passing 
but of the devil and his hosts. She had, 
however, to call for a guard before night 
or the soldiers would have taken every- 
thing she had. 

* * * 

November 22, 1864. 
After breakfast this morning I went 
over to my grave-yard to see what had 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

befallen that. To my joy, I found it 
had not been disturbed. As I stood by 
my dead, I felt rejoiced that they were 
at rest. Never have I felt so perfectly 
reconciled to the death of my husband 
as I do to-day, while looking upon the 
ruin of his lifelong labor. How it 
would have grieved him to see such de- 
struction! Yes, theirs is the lot to be 
envied. At rest, rest from care, rest 
from heartaches, from trouble. . . . 

Found one of my large hogs killed 
just outside the grave-yard. 

Walked down to the swamp, looking 
for the wagon and gear that Henry hid 
before he was taken off. Found some 
of my sheep; came home very much 
wearied, having walked over four miles. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hockmore called. 
Major Lee came down again after some 
cattle, and while he was here the alarm 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

was given that more Yankees were com- 
ing. I was terribly alarmed and packed 
my trunks with clothing, feeling assured 
that we should be burned out now. 
Major Lee swore that he would shoot, 
which frightened me, for he was intoxi- 
cated enough to make him ambitious. 
He rode off in the direction whence it 
was said they were coming. Soon after, 
however, he returned, saying it was a 
false alarm, that it was some of our own 
men. Oh, dear! Are we to be always 
living in fear and dread! Oh, the hor- 
rors, the horrors of war ! 

* * * 

November 26, 1864. 
A very cold morning. Elbert [the 
negro coachman] has to go to mill this 
morning, and I shall go with him, fear- 
ing that, if he is alone, my mule may be 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

taken from him, for there are still many 
straggling soldiers about. Mounted in 
the little wagon, I went, carrying wheat 
not only for myself, but for my neigh- 
bors. Never did I think I would have 
to go to mill! Such are the changes 
that come to us! History tells us of 
some illustrious examples of this kind. 
Got home just at night. 

Mr. Kennedy stopped all night with 
us. He has been refugeeing on his way 
home. Every one we meet gives us 
painful accounts of the desolation 
caused by the enemy. Each one has to 
tell his or her own experience, and fel- 
low-suffering makes us all equal and 
makes us all feel interested in one an- 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 

December 22, 1864. 

Tuesday, the nineteenth of the month, 
I attended Floyd Glass's wedding. 
She was married in the morning to 
Lieutenant Doroughty. She expected 
to have been married the week after the 
Yankees came, but her groom was not 
able to get here. Some of the Yankees 
found out in some way that she was to 
have been married, and annoyed her 
considerably by telling her that they 
had taken her sweetheart prisoner; that 
when he got off the train at the Circle 
they took him and, some said, shot him. 

The Yankees found Mrs. Glass's 
china and glassware that she had buried 
in a box, broke it all up, and then sent 
her word that she would set no more fine 
tables. They also got Mrs. Perry's sil- 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 

December 23, 1864. 

Just before night Mrs. Robert Rake- 
straw and Miss Mary drove up to spend 
the night with me. They had started 
down into Jasper County, hoping to 
get back their buggy, having heard that 
several buggies were left at Mr. Whit- 
field's by the Yankees. 

Nothing new! It is confidently be- 
lieved that Savannah has been evacu- 
ated. I hear nothing from my boys. 
Poor fellows, how I miss them! 

* * * 

December 24, 1864. 
This has usually been a very busy day 
with me, preparing for Christmas not 
only for my own tables, but for gifts 
for my servants. Now how changed! 
No confectionery, cakes, or pies can I 
have. We are all sad; no loud, jovial 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

laugh from our boys is heard. Christ- 
mas Eve, which has ever been gaily cele- 
brated here, which has witnessed the 
popping of fire-crackers [the Southern 
custom of celebrating Christmas with 
fireworks] and the hanging up of stock- 
ings, is an occasion now of sadness and 
gloom. I have nothing even to put in 
Sadai's stocking, which hangs so invit- 
ingly for Santa Claus. How dis- 
appointed she will be in the morning, 
though I have explained to her why he 
cannot come. Poor children! Why 
must the innocent suffer with the guilty ? 

* * * 

December 25, 1864. 

Sadai jumped out of bed very early 

this morning to feel in her stocking. 

She could not believe but that there 

would be something in it. Finding 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 

nothing, she crept back into bed, pulled 
the cover over her face, and I soon heard 
her sobbing. The little negroes all 
came in: "Christmas gift, mist'ess! 
Christmas gift, mist'ess!" 

I pulled the cover over my face and 
was soon mingling my tears with 

* * * 

[The records in the journal for the 
year 1865 are full of details of farm 
work and reflections on the war. For 
example] : 

January 30, 1865. 
As the moon has changed, Julia [the 
cook] has gone to making soap again. 
She is a strong believer in the moon, and 
never undertakes to boil her soap on the 
wane of the moon. "It won't thicken, 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

mist'ess — see if it does !" She says, too, 
we must commence gardening this 
moon. I have felt a strong desire to- 
day that my captured boys might come 
back. Oh, how thankful I should feel 
to see them once more safe at home ! 

* * * 

April 29, 1865. 
Boys plowing in old house field. We 
are needing rain. Everything looks 
pleasant, but the state of our country is 
very gloomy. General Lee has sur- 
rendered to the victorious Grant. 
Well, if it will only hasten the conclu- 
sion of this war, I am satisfied. There 
has been something very strange in the 
whole affair to me, and I can attribute it 
to nothing but the hand of Providence 
working out some problem that has not 
yet been revealed to us poor, erring 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

mortals. At the beginning of the strug- 
gle the minds of men, their wills, their 
self-control, seemed to be all taken from 
them in a passionate antagonism to the 
coming-in President, Abraham Lincoln. 
Our leaders, to whom the people 
looked for wisdom, led us into this, per- 
haps the greatest error of the age. 
"We will not have this man to rule over 
us!" was their cry. For years it has 
been stirring in the hearts of Southern 
politicians that the North was enriched 
and built up by Southern labor and 
wealth. Men's pockets were always 
appealed to and appealed to so con- 
stantly that an antagonism was excited 
which it has been impossible to allay. 
They did not believe that the North 
would fight. Said Robert Toomb^s: 
"I will drink every drop of blood they 
will shed." Oh, blinded men! Rivers 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

deep and strong have been shed, and 
where are we now? — a ruined, sub- 
jugated people! What will be our fu- 
ture? is the question which now rests 
heavily upon the hearts of all. 

This has been a month never to be 
forgotten. Two armies have surren- 
dered. The President of the United 
States has been assassinated, Richmond 
evacuated, and Davis, President of the 
Confederacy, put to grief, to flight. 
The old flag has been raised again upon 
Sumter and an armistice accepted. 

* * * 

[May is full of stories of Confeder- 
ate soldiers bitterly returning to their 
homes, and of apprehension of the Yan- 
kee troops encamped in the neighbor- 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 

May 7, 1865. 
Sunday evening. Had company 
every day last week, paroled soldiers re- 
turning to their homes. Last night a 
Mr. and Mrs. Adams, refugees from Al- 
berta, who have been spending the time 
in Eatonton, called to stay all night. I 
felt as though I could not take them in. 
I had purposely kept in the back part 
of the house all the evening with my 
blinds down and door locked, to keep 
from being troubled by soldiers, and had 
just gone into my room with a light, 
when some one knocked at the door, and 
wanted shelter for himself and family. 
I could not turn away women and chil- 
dren, so I took them in. Found them 
very pleasant people. They had Gov- 
ernment wagons along, and he had them 
guarded all night. I fear there was 
something in them which had been sur- 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

rendered, and belonged to the United 
States, but he assured me that with the 
exception of the mules and wagon, all 
belonged to himself. He said that he 
left Jeff Davis at Washington in this 
State, on Thursday morning last. His 
enemies are in close pursuit of him, of- 
fering a hundred thousand reward to 
his captors. 

* * * 

May 14, 1865. 

Mr. Knowles, our circuit preacher, 
came. I like him. We agree upon a 
good many contested topics. He loves 
the old flag as well as myself and would 
be glad to see it floating where it ever 

I had a long conversation with my 
man Elbert to-day about freedom, and 
told him I was perfectly willing, but 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

wanted direction. He says the Yan- 
kees told Major Lee's servants they 
were all free, but they had better re- 
main where they were until it was all 
settled, as it would be in a month's time. 
f We heard so many conflicting rumors 
( we know not what to do, but are willing 
\ to carry out the orders when we know 

\them. ^ ^^s^s 

^ * * * 

May 29, 1865. 
Dr. Williams, from Social Circle, 
came this morning to trade me a horse. 
He tells me the people below are free- 
ing their servants and allowing those 
to stay with them that will go on with 
their work and obey as usual. What 
I shall do with mine is a question that 
troubles me day and night. It is my 
last thought at night and the first in the 
morning. I told them several days ago 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

they were free to do as they liked. But 
it is my duty to make some provisions 
for them. I thank God that they are 
freed, and yet what can I do with them? 
They are old and young, not profitable 
to hire. What provision can I make ? 

* * * 

[The last two entries of the year. 1865, 
however, supply the journal with the 
much-to-be-desired happy ending] : 

December 24, 1865. 
It has been many months since I 
wrote in this journal, and many things 
of interest have occurred. But above 
all I give thanks to God for His good- 
ness in preserving my life and so much 
of my property for me. My freedmen 
have been with me and have worked for 
one-sixth of my crop. 

A Woman's Wartime Journal 

This is a very rainy, unpleasant day. 
How many poor freedmen are suffer- 
ing! Thousands of them must be ex- 
posed to the pitiless rain! Oh, that 
everybody would do right, and there 
would not be so much suffering in the 
world ! Sadai and I are all alone in the 
house. We have been reading, talking, 
and thus spending the hours until she 
went to bed, that I might play Santa 
Claus. Her stocking hangs invitingly 
in the corner. Happy child and child- 
hood, that can be so easily made con- 

* * * 

December 25, 1865. 

Sadai woke very early and crept out 

of bed to her stocking. Seeing it well 

rilled she soon had a light and eight 

little negroes around her, gazing upon 


A Woman's Wartime Journal 

the treasures. Everything opened that 
could be divided was shared with them. 
'T is the last Christmas, probably, that 
we shall be together, freedmen! Now 
you will, I trust, have your own homes, 
and be joyful under your own vine and 
fig tree, with none to molest or make